Like a good poker player, Don Flannery, president of the Maine Potato Board, is playing it close to the vest in terms of this year’s potato harvest, reports Julia Bayly for Bangor Daily News. He’s not about to call it a record year — yet. But with about 80 percent of this season’s potatoes out of the ground, the longtime industry expert said yields are shaping up to be above average.
“Until the United States Department of Agriculture comes out with their numbers later this year, I never make any predictions,” Flannery said. “So far the yields are above average and the quality, size and profile of those potatoes has been tremendous.”
That’s good news for Aroostook County potato farmers. Last year a drought combined with COVID-related drops in the potato markets resulted in the 2020 crop being down 20 percent from the previous year. On top of that, when the pandemic closed restaurant doors across the country in March of 2020, orders for 2019’s potatoes still in storage dropped drastically.
But with demands for fresh potatoes up due to more people cooking and eating at home and more processors turning Maine potatoes into chips, french fries and hash browns, there was an increase of around 8,000 acres this year, according to Flannery.
Source: Bangor Daily News (BDN). Full report here
Photo: With about 80 percent of the Aroostook County potato harvest complete, yields are expected to be above average. Credit: Julia Bayly / BDN